Week 3 at OSU starts tomorrow. I am currently teaching my first-year experience course, Odyssey, as well as working with Student Conduct.
Thus far my thoughts regarding my class are very mixed. My students had considerable amounts of confusion with my syllabus, the classroom is very traditionally oriented, and my guest speakers have been perfect.
The syllabus for this course is the first official syllabus that I have ever constructed. Students earn points via participation/attendance, think cards (reflective journaling), OSU Success.com summaries/reflections, and a professor interview paper. Think cards are written up on paper while OSU Success.com homework is posted on Blackboard. It took almost 2 weeks for everyone in the class to understand the functionality of BB. The first day of class I spent a great deal of time going over the basics of BB. Then the OSU Success.com website had a malfunction and my students became slightly perplexed. I can definitely empathize with my class. They are going through a major life transition and things like homesickness, stress, money, and independence are swirling around their heads.
The class is in Rogers Hall. The classroom is in the shape of a large rectangle. It feels like I have some students sitting right next to me while some are a world away. I end up moving around a lot. The class takes place at 3pm on Mondays. At 3pm on Mondays, I’m tired…I can’t imagine how tired some of my students are after already having 3-4 classes!
My guest speakers include: Moira Dempsey (Academic Success Center), Deb Burke (Community Service Center), Dennis Bennett (Writing Center), Mercedes Benton (Minority Education Office), Theo Sery (Office of Community and Diversity), and Tanya Ulsted (International Education and Outreach). It’s an amazing group that I am very honored to have as presenters. We are also going to Dixon where an as yet unknown recreation employee will be guiding us on a tour of the DRC.
I observed 2 informal hearings this week. The Office of Student Conduct uses a restorative justice model. It’s a pleasant change from the drop the hammer down model of an unnamed Windy City school. Restorative justice is a process of bringing back students who have done something wrong into the collective via involvement or other restorative means. Instead of punishing a student who has engaged in underage drinking with a “cookie cutter” punishment, each student is looked at as an individual who may need a class on responsible drinking or perhaps an introduction into a club through Student Involvement.
One aspect of this practicum that makes it unique is the amount of campus wide interactions that occur. Everyone is connected in some way to conduct. Academic dishonesty runs the gamut of all colleges/schools. Underage drinking happens a lot especially when you mix peer pressure and extreme amounts of transition.
I am very excited to be working in conduct again. Bringing people back from the edge is one of the most fulfilling parts about being in student affairs.
Note: I hope I am able to survive 3 hours a week of Odyssey teaching/preparation and 9 hours a week of Student Conduct work!